Equal Citizens Foundation
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Founded by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Equal Citizens has one simple but incredibly important mission: to fix democracy by establishing truly equal citizenship. From the Electoral College, to gerrymandering, money in politics and voter suppression—our government cannot adequately take on any major challenges facing us until we end these corruptions in our democracy. Equal Citizens runs innovative litigation and grassroots advocacy projects across the country to accomplish this goal.
About This Cause
Our democracy is broken. On every issue that matters, our leaders are unwilling — or unable — to take meaningful action. Time and again, we can see that what voters want does not matter. As a result, most of America has turned away from politics. The biggest political party in America today is “none of the above.” And who could blame them? The system is rigged to favor the powerful and well-connected. It ignores the voices of ordinary citizens. Our representative democracy has become so corrupted by this fundamental inequality, the only voices that our government listens to are the special interests who fund their campaigns, and the most partisan groups and individuals. The result is the governmental dysfunction we see today. Every issue — from climate change to gun safety, from Wall Street reform to defense spending — is tied to this core inequality. The solution is to fix our government so all citizens are represented equally. Equal Citizens has one simple but incredibly important mission: to fix democracy by establishing truly equal citizenship. Once we, as a nation, have done that, we may then take on all the other challenges facing us. The good news is, since Congress created this problem, Congress can fix this problem. The legislation to do so has already been written. Now it’s simply a matter of making sure Congress hears our voices and acts to make us truly equal citizens. Our vision of the reforms we need to fix our democracy: EQUAL REPRESENTATION — Citizens should be represented equally in elections. Reform our Electoral College system through Equal Votes to create a more fair presidential election that counts all votes equally. Give each voter as close to equal political influence as possible by redrawing congressional districts. Pass a bill like FairVote’s “The Fair Representation Act” to end political gerrymandering and create multi-member districts with ranked-choice voting for Congress. EQUAL DEPENDENCE — Representatives should depend on citizens equally. End pay-to-play politics by changing the way we fund campaigns, using the best of Rep. John Sarbanes’ Government by the People Act, and Represent.US’s “American Anti-Corruption Act.” Give every voter a voucher to contribute to congressional and presidential campaigns. Provide matching funds for small-dollar contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns. Add effective restrictions on the revolving door between government service and work as a lobbyist. EQUAL FREEDOM TO VOTE — Citizens should have the same opportunity to vote. Ending voter suppression and discrimination by passing bills like the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 and the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015. Assuring integrity of the election process. Lowering the practical costs of voting by enacting automatic voter registration, and making election day a national holiday. Together, these reforms will fundamentally change the way our government works. They will fulfill the promise of American democracy: a government of, by, and for the people.